Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Oso Landslide Part III: "Hand of God" or "Hand of Man"?

Is the Oso Landslide a result of "Hand of God" or the technological "Hand of Man"?

Seismic activity the day before the March 22nd Oso event. Middle (blue) signature is a most probably a cultural source. It appears to this author to be a digitally produced "sine wave".

Seismic Activity for the March 22nd Oso Event.
"The Navy has already exercised part of the contract by placing an order for more than $5.1 million in modifications to the Naval Radio Station, Jim Creek in Arlington, WA. The Navy is expected to (and DID) exercise its options to upgrade additional VLF broadcast network sites annually for the next four years.
VLF technology, the radio spectrum between 3 kHz and 30 kHz, has been used for naval submarine communications since the first systems were designed and installed by CEC during the 1950s and 1960s. The VLF system is the most reliable form of long distance and underwater communications ever developed, even under the most adverse conditions. The VLF signals can penetrate solid rock and the ocean surface, both of which block radio waves at higher frequencies." VLF Case Histories of Continental Electronics  from
The author of this blog is not a physical scientist or geologist. Please continue below to my comments on the possible relationship between VLFs from Jim Creek and the Oso "event" with this knowledge. For more geological and physics background consult Part I and  Part II of this series of blogposts on the Oso landslide.

The charts below correlate a visual relationship between Jim Creek Naval Radio Station VLF broadcasts and Jim Creek (JCW) seismic recordings (non-geological or "cultural source" signatures). But they also may help us to understand the effect of high power, low frequency, long wavelength radio broadcasts on the slope stability of "Hazel" or the "Steel Haven" landslide.  I am proposing an alternative or additive explanation for the March 22nd "Event" in Oso:  VLF radio waves have been affecting the stability of of the Steel Haven landslide for generations, worsening a dangerous landscape. I believe the latest upgrade to Jim Creek Naval Radio Station probably increased both the power and efficiency of EM wave generation; most likely replacing tube based radio equipment with digital equipment and the latest classes of power amplifiers.  Clearly, this slope (and most of the Stillaguamish) is a dangerous place in which to build homes. Clearly, increased precipitation due to climate change is  the North Cascades forecast. But weak slopes within range of Jim Creek NRS  may well be at a special risk due to VLF EM radiation.

Here's how I think this might have happened on March 22nd and may have indeed encouraged one of the many historical landslides at "Hazel":  Jim Creek Naval Radio Station was recently given a digital upgrade. Classes of "power amplifiers" for VLF have become increasing powerful with technological developments . The non-tranverse VLF portions would have a wavelength of 10 - 100km with an amplitude the height of the Ionosphere track (60 -90 km).  Input RF power at JCNRS is reputedly at least 250kW.  (For output power  I do not  as yet have a number ). JCNRS uses VLFs to contact our submariner fleet throughout the Pacific as only VLF and ELF EM waves can penetrate water with data.  VLF is also routinely used to penetrate soil for geologic exploration. This might have put an un-attenuated, digitally generated, high power VLF (3 - 31kHZ) wave radiating energy across the face of "Hazel".  All EM waves carry power, momentum and 'pressure"; They impact surfaces with transverse and incident reflection and absorption of energy. The question here is how much might such VLF waves have induced the landslide.

I conceptualize this  worst case scenario: The VLF wave lengths permeate the loose soil. They reflect from something more igneous or sedimentary underneath and return energy incident to their angle of entrance; an incidence which could have those waves meet an incoming (continuously generated) VLF wave, perhaps now polar in phase. The result could have been a small "standing wave" inside the geologic silt of "Hazel", perhaps vibrating at some near "earth frequency"  (e.g. Schumann Resonance) , thus amplifying the VLF effect on loose soil drenched with rain, ready to slough off its base clay and/or surface rock. Let us look for evidence to support my hypothesis in the available data. Click to enlarge the charts.
NOTE 5:07 PM 4/21/2014 : The graphs below require a change. I am plotting Seismic in GMT and VLF in Local Time (PST). I will make that change soon. -RMF

Left: Data from an ASCII (e.g.raw) seismograph of the week of the March 22nd "event" in Oso, WA. Note the signature of the Friday morning seismic events. Also note the landslide signature for Saturday morning.

The chart below is Jim Creek Naval Radio Station (as recorded in Hillsboro, OR.) for the week of the Oso Event.

The chart below provides visual evidence that JCW seismograph may reflect a particular phase of VLF  broadcasts. The VLFs are measured every 60 seconds , the seismic activities have 2 counts per second.

March 10 (Most recent small earthquake) Combined (VLF Top;Seismic Bottom)

The VLFs are the last row in both the left and right stacks below. The top two rows are a high pass (> 35) and low pass (< 35) from JCW.  JCRS goes down once a week and restarts. JCW seismic station seems to pick up the restart as a  fairly strong seismic signal.

By all accounts, the Oso landslide is more than just a terrible tragedy. Geologists are commenting that this is a  landslide whose energy and  the sheer volume of earth are  unrivaled in their experience as professionals. A thorough and mathematical examination of the relationships between VLF EM waves and seismic activity should be done.  The Oso landslide site is approximately 10 km from the Jim Creek Naval Radio Station. The Gold Basin landslide is almost an exact multiple (20 km) of that distance from Jim Creek Naval Radio Station. Other areas of geological instability exist in Western Washington at those distances (multiple of 10 km wavelengths?) from JCNRS.  The classified nature of Naval use of VLF's should not prevent in any way thorough  investigation into the Oso "event" of March 22 or any other geological event. Code and data  for this article are available upon request.

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